Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!
by Adam Scharf
He takes me to a Greek restaurant. You would think this place is bullshit because of the lame Greece photos from Ikea on the wall. But everyone here has an accent. The place smells wonderful. I’m getting ideas for what my flock would feed me on holidays about myself. Ambrosia and diet coke. Robert is perfect, he’s talkative but not boring, or over explaining. His questions are tolerable, and the voices approve.
He smells delightful
You should climb him
Ask him to marry you
Find out his mother’s name
“What’s your mother’s name?”
The worst name for any woman is always Sandy.
Tell him something came up
“She’s my step-mom, my mother died when I was a baby,” said Robert.
It’s not so bad a name
He changed the subject, “Is your mom nice?”
“She’s a millionaire,” I lied. I don’t know why I lied. I order wine, and he gets a beer. Everything is perfect. He doesn’t fake laugh. You can tell he doesn’t. We order appetizers and keep the wine coming. He’s incredibly warm. He says things that are funny. My hands are shaking. I want him forever. He always says thank you when she refills his water. I can see him at home reading a book. We will make love passionately, I’ll always be late for work. He smells so good. And his chewing is tolerable, polite, and he never slurps his beer.
You love him
You should marry him
I should marry him. I feel so warm. Everything seems brighter, like I can manage. There’s no need to worry again. Or check the weather report. I excuse myself for the restroom. I tell him to order for me. I must look like a freak. I can’t stop smiling. It’s the cleanest stall I’ve ever seen. I take the pill out of my purse, and I flush it down the toilet. Let some rat have peace of mind. I feel like a hunk. I’m going to perform a miracle.
When I come back, he’s smiling, waiting for me. He didn’t have his phone out.
He’s a doll
I can tell.
Touch his hand on the table
This is easy. His hand is already open waiting for mine. My hand fits perfectly. He asks, “You want some of my salad?”
“I’m not really much of a salad gal.”
His hands are sweaty
When the sacred scriptures are recorded, he’ll be a wonderful addition. We will have 37 fat daughters. All of them named Calvin.
Why is he staring at you?
I’ll teach him the trick of fainting every time you hear the word “God.” They will think he’s holy too. I want to move to an old city with him. I know I’ll love him when he’s angry. I tell him, “My dinner is delicious.”
I wink at him. I’m such a hunk. He pours me more wine. He bought the bottle.
Your friends will love him
He’s too tall
He’s not interested in you; he’s asking questions because he’s nervous
You don’t do well in long-term relationships
“I bet you like baklava. Can we split some, Clara?”
“Yes, I’d love some.”
Take your hand away
I snap back my hand. I didn’t want to do that. He’s surprised.
“Nothing, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to take my hand away like that. I mean—”
He’s too tall
“I didn’t want to do that, Robert.” I take his hand.
“Don’t worry, drink some water. You look pale. Jesus, you look pale.”
It’s time to leave Clara
I don’t want to leave.
“But I like him!”
I said that out loud. I’m trying hard to explain. There’s no explaining and looking normal. It’s a first date, he’s not impressed. He wants to help. He’s blaming himself. “Let’s get dessert,” I say. The voices are yelling.
He’s typical, ordinary
“No, he’s not!”
He takes away his hand.
I tell him, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say any of that out loud. I don’t feel well.”
I’m going to obey. I always obey.
I stand up apologizing over and over. I bang into the waitress next to me, her tray nearly spills. This is how this ends. My followers find me out. They raise their pitchforks and torches. It’s time to burn me alive. I gather my purse. I’m never going to see him again. I’m feeling sick. The voices aren’t stopping. He’s begging me to stay, asking himself where he went wrong. “Your just too tall,” I tell him. I tell him that a few times and start crying. I tell him I’m going to the restroom again. I’m dizzy. I just feel sick suddenly. Terribly dizzy. I love him. I want to tell him I love him. That would be crazy. I say I’m sorry. I cry in the stall. I’m sitting on the toilet. I have no medicine. The voices are yelling. Fire is lit and climbing the stake. I already know my last words, because they were someone else’s last words. I cry, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”
I hear voices. I’m not thinking them. They are speaking to me. I hear them. People don’t like people who hear voices. I’m going to be burned someday. Probably by my mother, who is looking at me from her old chair that wreaks of fear, and someone who plays tennis on their time off. She knows I’m hearing them. But I look at her like I’ve hit a homerun, and I’m running the bases. Like I’ve done an incredible thing, the voices.
“I know they’re talking to you, Clara.”
“I know you know.”
“You know I don’t like you listening to them.”
“What if I’m a saint?”
“What if you’re schizophrenic?”
“I’m going to start a religion.”
I have thought about starting a religion. I’ll tell everyone God is speaking to me. I’ll be divine. I’ll hire a robed boy to walk behind me because every time someone mentions the word “God,” I’m going to faint. I’m going to liberate my followers by showing them that they aren’t important. That the voice has told me so. That if they want to be happy they must stop trying and focus on anything but themselves for two whole seconds. I’m going to have mandatory communal laugh sessions, in which every member of the congregation will stand on a stage and tell the crowd what they want out of life. All their wishes. How they want their life to be. And we are going to laugh at everything they say. And call God, “Mother.”
“You can’t go out tonight if they’re talking.”
I’m going on a date tonight. This is something I do from time to time. He’s tall, and I want to climb him.
“Is this a nice a boy, Clara?” My mother asks.
“He’s beautiful, his name is Robert Winn, and he’s tall.”
God, I love that he’s tall.
“What if they won’t stop talking, and you can’t listen?”
“What if I’m the prophet and can tell others how to dress?”
The car horn honks, it’s Robert. He doesn’t care that I live at home. He’s in a suit, and it looks like he’s never worn it before. This is a good thing, I need my disciples to want to impress me. I have medication, but I don’t take it. It makes me sleepy and fat. The voices aren’t that bad. They’re mostly male, and a few females that sound older. They comfort me and warn me about suspicious people on the subway. They lift me up when I need a lift. They told me to not be afraid and ask Robert out to dinner. They say happy birthday, and for my latest, my 22nd, they sang the song. The whole goddamn song.
My mother is begging me to take a pill, in case the voices get out of hand. “Please take a pill with you, please! He might be the one.”
I take it, but she knows my feelings on medication. I like the voices. They know me. Better than my mother even. He knocks loudly, I hate people who knock loudly. It startles the voices. I open the door, “Jesus, don’t knock so loud.”
“You look beautiful.”
“Thanks, you really are a hunk, Robert.”
Kiss him wildly.
I obey, I always obey. I can’t reach his tall head, so I grab his neck and bend him towards me. I kiss him with passion. He seems frightened. When I lay off he says, “Dear God.” If I had hired a robed boy to catch me, this is when I faint. My followers would blush and praise this bliss.
“If we ever go out again, don’t ever knock. Even if it’s soft.”
“Alright, Clara. I’m sorry.”
His sins are forgiven.
Adam Scharf was born and raised in Utica, NY. He now lives in Orlando, Florida writing and working as a professional improviser. This is his first publication with Jokes Review, and he'd like to thank them for the opportunity. Previous work has been published in Clockwise Cat Magazine, and Adam recently completed his first novel. Adam would also like to thank Andrew Wilcox for the initial editing of this story.